Friends of the Coronado is a grassroots volunteer 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1997 to spearhead and manage a capital campaign that resulted in the 18.5 million renovation, restoration and 2001 reopening of the historic Coronado Theatre in Rockford. This process began in 1995 when a group of concerned citizens, under the aegis of the Rockford Area Arts Council, began to investigate the possibility of renovating the Coronado Theatre. Following a feasibility study, the mayor of Rockford appointed a committee to spearhead the Coronado project. Thus, the Friends organization was born.

After the theater’s reopening, the Friends focused on it’s energies and resources toward community education and outreach programs and ongoing preservation activities, while continuing to manage the conclusion of the capital campaign, including collecting the remaining long-term restoration pledges.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Friends of the Coronado is to champion the historic Coronado Theatre, a time-honored symbol of civic pride, as a performing arts center and community asset for all to use and share.

What we do:

Today Friends of the Coronado works to advocate and raise funds for:

  • Preservation of the historic Coronado Theatre
  • Student programming/ access
  • Community engagement/ access
  • Facility and operational enhancement
  • Institutional knowledge continuity

Recent Activities

Examples of the Friends activities include the following:

  • awarding annual grants to community organizations utilizing the Coronado Theatre for live performances
  • presenting and co-sponsoring “Reach for the Stars,” an annual program featuring a live performance in the Coronado Theatre for ALL fourth-grade students in Rockford’s School District 205
  • awarding annual grants to Rockford School District in support student performances held in the Coronado Theatre
  • awarding grants to other users of the Coronado for student educational programming
  • providing tours of the historic theater — in coordination with the Land of Lincoln Theater Organ Society
  • serving as a resource for restoration/ organization institutional history
  • funding and advocate for on-going preservation and structural changes of the Coronado at the highest standards
  • funding and advocate for the restoration of original furniture and other artifacts
  • hosting and presenting Cafe Coronado and annual fundraising event
  • hosting/co-hosting other fundraising activities
  • ambassador for promoting the use of the Coronado by the corporate community and individuals